My Journey Part 3: Salvador
We opted to fly into Salvador from Rio and enjoyed a bit of rest and relaxation on the beach to recharge our batteries after the action packed week we’d just had. The tropical climate meant the heat and humidity was at an all time high which was great for the tan, but not so great for getting to sleep at night (Oli attempted to sleep outdoors on a hammock but was met by a swarm of mosquitoes — insect repellent is a must in Salvador).
The following day Auntie Vali took us to Pelourinho, the centre of Salvador which is famed for its exotic rainbow coloured buildings and cobbled streets and is where ‘The King of Pop’ strutted his stuff for the ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ video. I soon learnt the reason Michael Jackson didn’t attempt his signature Moonwalk in the video when Oli and I broke out into dance and I ended up flat on my bum after tripping up on the cobblestones!
In all honesty as a teenager I didn’t appreciate what Pelourinho had to offer. The area itself is stunning and has the aesthetic appeal of Prague. With its concentration of theatres, museums and churches it is ideal for couples and older visitors looking for culture and knowledge. We learnt from Vali that the area is steeped in history too; she mentioned that at one point it was Brazil’s main sea port which was host to the slave trade among other things. The racial make-up of Brazil comprised of Africans, Portuguese settlers, the indigenous Amerindians, who mainly live in isolation in places such as the Amazon Rainforest, and the Pardo which is what me and Oli would be classed as.
Auntie Vali thought she would test our knowledge and quizzed us on what the first capital of Brazil was, which was a bit of a trick question. I knew Brasilia was the capital but I’d never contemplated that there might once have been another. ‘Rio’ Oli yelled out trying to make it competitive ‘no that was the second capital’ Second capital, how many did they need? ‘I’ll give you a clue it begins with an S’ Vali said knowingly. ‘Sao Paulo!’ ‘No wrong Daniel,’ ‘Salvador’ Oli said by process of elimination as our geography of Brazil was pretty limited ‘Bingo.’ Oli couldn’t have looked anymore smug if he’d just pummelled me on Street Fighter. We put our sibling rivalry aside and went for a bit of street fighting of the Brazilian kind!
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art which incorporates dance and music, with the emphasis on evading your partner’s opposing body movements. At only 20 Brazilian Real (under a fiver) for an hour lesson it’s accessible to everyone from backpackers to holidaying families. Having done Judo as a kid, I thought I would take to it like a duck to water but it was more difficult than I first thought. It’s more about keeping your timing and rhythm so if you dance already you have an advantage! I don’t think I’ve ever said sorry that many times, all owing to accidently upper cutting and kicking my partner, they should have paired me up with someone I felt more comfortable beating up like Oli!
After an action-packed three weeks in Brazil it was time to say goodbye. Auntie Vali mentioned there was an element of Déjà vu when seeing us off from Sao Paulo airport as she had done this at the age of two and now we were teenagers. I’m not afraid to say I blubbed like a baby, hopefully when I next go back I’ll be able to introduce her to a new generation of Keegan’s.